• Beaten, strangled woman's case cold after 23 years, but her mom is not losing hope

    By: Lorena Inclan, Action News Jax

    Updated:

    Michelle Tyler-Hart, 21, was the youngest of three kids.

    Family photos show her smile, her personality, and her beauty. For Michelle’s mom, Charley Tyler, they’re memories of happier times.

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    “I would love to have seen how she would have turned out had she still been alive,” said Tyler.

    Michelle was murdered on Aug. 9, 1995.

    She had been beaten and strangled. Her body was found near the Borden Cemetery on Jacksonville's Westside.

    The killer had to drive through a long winding dirt road to dump her body there because the cemetery is deep in the woods. A 13-year-old who was walking his dogs found her. 

    According to old newspaper clippings, he ran back home, thinking the attacker was still nearby.

    Michelle was a dancer at an Orange Park gentlemen’s club, a job that strained her relationship with her mom.

    “We didn’t talk a lot because like I said she was my delinquent child but just cause she was a delinquent child doesn't mean she deserved to be killed,” said Tyler.

    On the day she was murdered, Tyler said she learned her daughter had asked a fellow dancer for a ride home.

    “Well apparently a while later she came back and said, ‘Oh, I found another ride’ so we don't know,” said Tyler.

    It’s unclear who she left the club with or why she was murdered.

    A few years after her death, Tyler became a corrections officer.

    “I wanted to get to know the system better and I just wanted to do something that made a difference,” said Tyler.

    Action News Jax met with her at the offices of Project: Cold Case where survivors like her have found much needed support.

    Tyler said me she’s found some peace through the years especially when she recalls her last encounter with her daughter.

    “Last thing we did is we hugged and told each other we loved each other and that was last time I saw her alive,” said Tyler.

    Despite the passing of time, Tyler hopes that by telling her story the person responsible will finally be caught and prevent another family from feeling the pain she’s experienced.

    “Who knows if he's even still alive you know but the hatred’s gone over the years, but I still want justice,” said Tyler.

    If you have any information that could help police make an arrest in this case call CrimeStoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.

     

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